Modeling a System

Many things in the real world are complex and dynamic and hard to understand. In such cases, we use a mechanism called modeling to simplify presentation of such things. It is then easier to understand, to test their effects and different relationships.

A model can be described as an abstraction or approximation that is used to represent reality. Good models enable us to explore and gain improved understanding of real-world situations. This is not a new technique. Even ancient people had used diagrams as models to present things.

Examples of models :

1. A written description of a battle
2. A physical mock-up of an ancient building
3. The use of symbols to represent money, numbers
4. Mathematical relationships

Today, scientists, engineers, managers and other professionals use different models to understand complex problems and to present different solutions. In the context of organizations, managers and decision makers use models to help them understand what is happening in their organizations and make better decisions.

In general, models can be classified into various types as narrative, physical, schematic and mathematical.

1. Narrative Model :

A narrative model is based on words, spoken or written. Both verbal and written descriptions of reality are considered narrative models. In an organization, reports, documents and conversations concerning a system are all important narratives Computers can be used to develop narrative models.

Example : word processing

2. Physical Model :

A physical model is a tangible representation of reality. Many physical models are computer designed or constructed.

3. Schematic Model:

A schematic model is a graphical representation of reality. Graphs, charts, figures, diagrams, illustrations, and pictures are all types of schematic models. Schematic models are used extensively in developing computer programs and systems.

4. Mathematical Model:

A mathematical model is an arithmetic representation of reality. Computers excel at solving mathematical models.

Example : Retail chains have developed mathematical models to identify all the activities, effort, and time associated with planning, building, and opening a new store so that they can forecast how long it will take to complete a store.


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